Signal Stops Working As Downloads Surge Following Elon Musk Endorsement
The high-privacy messaging platform Signal is experiencing ‘technical difficulties’ as it tries to accommodate millions of new users following Elon Musk’s endorsement.
As Elon says, his fans do. The billionaire’s huge influence was evident last night, January 15, as Signal announced it was adding servers at a ‘record pace’ to restore service as quickly as possible.
On January 7, Musk took to Twitter to tell his followers to ‘use signal’, after popular messaging app WhatsApp updated its privacy terms.
Earlier this month, WhatAapp announced that its two billion users must allow the app to share data with its parent company, Facebook.
While the updated terms do not apply to users in the UK and Europe, the notice was sent out to everyone.
Of the surge in sign-ups to its platform, Signal said: ‘Millions upon millions of new users are sending a message that privacy matters.’
According to download data from Sensor Tower, a mobile app analytics firm, Signal was downloaded 246,000 times across the world in the week before WhatsApp’s announcement. Following the update, and Musk’s endorsement, it saw 8.8 million downloads.
‘We have been adding new servers and extra capacity at a record pace every single day this week nonstop, but today exceeded even our most optimistic projections. Millions upon millions of new users are sending a message that privacy matters. We appreciate your patience,’ Signal wrote in a tweet yesterday.
Telegram, another free-to-use encrypted messaging app has also benefited from WhatsApp’s updated terms, as BBC News reports.
This week, the platform announced it now has more than 500 million active users across the world. Its downloads jumped from 6.5 million the week before WhatsApp’s update, to 11 million the following week.
Following the backlash to its announcement, WhatsApp made a statement insisting that its practice of sharing data with Facebook is not new and is not being expanded.
The platform said there has been ‘confusion’ about its message. ‘We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook,’ WhatsApp said in a blog post.
The information it will share includes the user’s phone number, and registration information, such as the user’s name.
It will also give Facebook access to information about the user’s phone, such as the make, model and mobile company. Additionally, it will show Facebook a user’s location by providing information on IP addresses. Facebook will also have access to information about any payment and financial transactions made over the messaging platform.
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